Preset Camera Modes
All cameras from the simplest compact to DSLR´s (not all the professional models have presets) have a number of presets, but first of all, what is a preset? It is a setting preprogrammed into the camera to the photographer can choose and not worry about the manual settings, like ISO, aperture, shutter speed or white balance. The presets range from four or five in some models to 15 or so, on other models.
So now that we know what a preset is, I will give you a run down on the most popular ones.
Action/sports, children/baby, landscape, macro/close up, night portrait, night, portrait, sunrise….. Some cameras will offer aquarium, candle light, fireworks, food, fisheye, monochrome, museum, panning, panorama, beach, snow and probably more…..
Action/sports: The camera chooses a fast shutter speed and a wide aperture, a higher ISO. It is necessary to understand the limitations of the camera, as the aperture may not open wide enough or the higher ISO might create too much noise.
Children/baby: (some cameras may even have both options). This setting recognizes that children are fast, therefore uses a faster shutter speed and wider aperture. Some cameras will have different presets for children and babies: with the babies it will stop the flash from firing and with children it will often fire.
Landscape: The aperture will be closed, as small as possible, this will give you a longer shutter speed, although it will also use a higher ISO to counteract this, there is a possibility of camera shake, so a tripod or a stable rock, table etc. will help sharpness. No flash will be fired. Also it might help with contrast and colours to make them pop out more.
Macro/close up: This is not a true macro as that can only be achieved with dedicated macro lenses on DLSR cameras. But they do a darn good job at focusing really close up that does create problems with insects as they are skittish. The settings will be wide open aperture, this creates a shallow depth of field and normally the flash will fire.
Sunrise/sunset or Dusk/dawn: This setting helps to capture the stunning colours the human eye sees. This is specifically for shooting the sky in the direction of the sun. Normally, cameras are misled by this light and try to overexpose, which washes out the color and may promote shaky shots. In this mode, the image is deliberately underexposed to capture the rich color in the subdued light.
Portrait: This preset uses a wide aperture to help blur the background and low ISO. A good tip for portraits photography is to shoot in shade or shadow as this helps eliminate harsh shadows.
Fireworks: This is specifically for shooting the sky in the direction of the sun. Normally, cameras are misled by this light and try to overexpose, which washes out the color and may promote shaky shots. In this mode, the image is deliberately underexposed to capture the rich color in the subdued light. A longer shutter speed is used and a low ISO to help reduce noise. A tripod is required to avoid camera shake.
Night Portrait: this setting fires the flash giving an effect where you can see the lights in the background as well as the people in the frame.
Beach/snow: This setting captures bright, sun-drenched scenes. Normally, scenes with a lot of white or light color, such as beaches and snow-filled vistas, will mislead a camera’s light meter into underexposing, leading to an image that’s too dark. In Beach, the camera compensates for this automatically by exposing by one to two more stops, brightening the scene, and (in some cases) by reducing contrast.
Candlelight: This preset will disable the flash as otherwise it ruins the atmosphere, it will set daylight white balance and it will also use a slower shutter speed so a stable place for the camera is required.